Inspirational Staffs students shortlisted for nursing awards

Inspirational students, staff and projects at Staffordshire University have been shortlisted for five Student Nursing Times Awards

Lecturer Emma Geis pictured with nursing and paramedic students

Staffordshire University is shortlisted in five categories including for the WRAP wellbeing project, led by lecturer Emma Geis

I didn’t expect to be nominated and I definitely didn’t expect to be shortlisted because there are so many student nurses doing amazing things. I am really excited and proud!

Kat Suffolk, Adult Nursing student

The annual event celebrates the best of the next generation of nurses and their educators, with Staffordshire University receiving more nominations this year than ever before.

Adult Nursing student Kat Suffolk is in the running for Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year for taking her role as student representative to the next level and supporting fellow students. The 33-year-old from Shrewsbury set up The Debrief Hub as a way for students across healthcare courses to informally connect, decompress and reflect on the pressures and successes of placements.

Kat explained: “I am passionate about peer support and think it is important that we form healthy habits now so that we don’t burnout later in our careers. We’ve been through so much during the pandemic, so I wanted to create a safe space for students to destress, share stories and get support from someone who understands.

“I didn’t expect to be nominated and I definitely didn’t expect to be shortlisted because there are so many student nurses doing amazing things. I am really excited and proud!”

Another initiative to support student wellbeing is recognised in the Best Student Experience category. The WRAP project development team, led by lecturer Emma Guise, were motivated by the need to respond actively to the Office for National Statistics (2021) findings that almost two-thirds (63%) of students reported worsening of their wellbeing and mental health.

WRAP stands for Work, Relax and Play, which forms the structure of the sessions. Work sessions include healthcare professionals sharing their experiences and identifying the importance of reflection for personal well-being, Relax sessions include a series of yoga, tai chi and allotment gardening, with Play sessions ranging between fun activities and exercise like quizzes and badminton.

Child Nursing student Eve Rodgers has played an integral part in the WRAP project and is shortlisted for Student Nurse of the Year: Children. Eve is regularly involved in peer teaching as part of the Children’s Nursing Curriculum and School of Health Interprofessional Education Programme and also provided peer mentoring to first-year student nurses needing additional support throughout the pandemic. As a result, Eve has written a number of articles for publication in national Nursing Journals and attended conferences to share the work of the WRAP team.

Eve, 20 from Holmes Chapel, said: “To be honest I’m quite overwhelmed – I was not expecting this! When I was asked to be involved in the WRAP project, I thought it was a great idea. Mental health issues have been a lot more prevalent and I think we’ve all been struggling but it has really helped me.

“I think it is important for everyone to have that opportunity to relax and have fun together outside of their studies or placement. To be able to present at conferences has been a great opportunity and I am really proud.”

Staffordshire University is shortlisted in the Teaching Innovation of the Year category for its “5-stage approach” for integrating simulation into undergraduate education from the outset. The University is also up for Nurse Education Provider of the Year (Post-registration) in recognition of its MSc Advanced Clinical Practice course which aims to develop the talents of qualified nurses and midwives in a nurturing educational environment.

Mike Phillips, Interim Executive Dean of the School of Health, Science and Wellbeing, said: “We are incredibly proud that the hard work of our students and staff is being recognised nationally. It has been a difficult two years for everyone working in healthcare and it is heartening to see how our Staffs communities are supporting each other through initiatives like the Debrief Hub and Work, Relax and Play.

“At Staffordshire University we are passionate about health innovation, so we are really pleased that these nominations also recognise our dedication to simulation-based education – something we are driving nationally with the launch of our new Centre for Health Innovation.”

The Student Nursing Times Awards will be celebrated on Friday 27 May 2022 in a glittering live ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane – see the full shortlist.

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